I’ve been hiding away for a few weeks just busy with work and the family. And just when everything gets into a nice groove, fate throws in a monkey wrench.

So yeah, my mom is in the hospital again. Luckily (or unluckily), the doctors were able to diagnose her condition and treat it. Turns out she had a very bad gall bladder that needed to be removed immediately. Just last year at around the same time, she was in the hospital with what they thought was a heart attack. Turns out it was the effects of tumor leaching her life force out.

It’s so painful when you live thousands of miles away from family and when they need you the most, you are helpless to help them. On one hand, being far away, I don’t have to deal with the petty bullshit of stupid family squabbles, I can avoid the family members with whom I don’t get along or don’t like. But The Boy misses out on the sense of community that comes with a large family and the camaraderie of cousins. He will be that cousin that only comes every few years, the DNA stranger, you know, you’re related but you know nothing about this person. Also, you have to parcel out your emergency visits.  Should we visit for Grandpa’s cataract surgery or your twice-removed aunt by marriage’s triple bypass?

Anywho, I just have a few too many thoughts running in my head right now, but nonetheless, my mother is going to be alright….


Things I Like/Things I Don’t Like 1/20

Humble reader, this week’s weather has been complete balls. We thought we were gonna have another Snowpocalypse like in 2008 but all we got was a smattering of snow, a ton of rain and grey skies coming at you. C’est dommage.But nonetheless, here is my Things I Like and Things I Don’t Like list:

Things I like:

  • A freshly sharpened pencil.
  • Creamy hummus, especially if it’s made by the Husband.
  • Tater Tots (hells yeah!).
  • My bright green rain boots.
  • Blood Oranges. So happy they’re in season right now.

Things I Don’t Like

  • Hoping for snow day and getting nothing.
  • Motorists who don’t pay attention to pedestrians. Ugh!

Wishing the winter blues away for all of you! Have a splendid weekend!

TTV Photography

Sky Above

Back in the day, The Husband and I used to collect old cameras. There is something beautiful about the design of an old school camera. We had several box cameras and ancient video cameras (made way before camcorders came into style). Due to whatever reason, mainly that we didn’t know if they worked or if we could find film and/or develop it if we did, we decided to give most of them away.

Fast forward to a few years later and I ran across some random photography blog (wished I had bookmarked it). One of the things this photographer talked about was his love of old cameras and how he found a use for them without film. He talked about this technique called Through the Viewfinder or TTV photography. Long story short, you take your old box camera and use it as a lens for your digital camera. Your digital camera doesn’t have to be anything fancier than a point and shoot, although I would imagine that an SLR or a DSLR would give you more artistic license and controls.

I instantly knew I had to find an old box camera. I searched on Craigslist until I saw an old Anscoflex for twenty bucks. I played around until found a setting with my digital lens that I liked and that wasn’t completely blurry (note to self: always switch to macro setting). I’ve since found a Duaflex and an Argus 75.

Sparkle Swing

The thing that I love about the photos is that 1) it puts an old camera to use; 2) the images produced has this dreamy, beautiful effect. I guess you could use Instagram on your Iphone or Android but this is so much more fun; 3) other than the cost of the camera, it’s good cheap fun.

Note the weird blur mark at the top of the picture.

There are some drawbacks. Because I’m using a point and shoot, I can’t properly hold my camera still so I end up with these weird blur marks on the edges that I have to edit out in post-production (hee hee., that would be Photoshop). And all the images are reversed. Some people don’t have a problem with this, but I do. So I have to flip them post-production (again in Photoshop or in Preview). It can also be a real pain to lug out my entire rig.

Went a little crazy with the saturation.

But I really love it. As soon as it’s not raining, I’ll be out again with my rig.

Solid Perfume Experiment

Hello Gentle Reader!

Did y’all see that post at Design Sponge about making your own solid perfume?

Solid Perfume via designsponge.com. Not my photo, please don't sue me.

How cute was that? Except that, I don’t want to go out and spend time and money on the materials for the project that I’m only gonna make once or twice. If you’re on a no money budget, the cost of the materials can easily price you out of doing some projects. Since I am, what some would say, extremely cheap, almost miserly and broke as hell,  I looked around the house to see if there were some things that I could use as a stand in. I’ll be calling these crafts, “Janky Crafts” or “How I learned to make something by substituting the materials with crap I already have around the house.”

Now, I already have some orange essential oil that I use to mix in with my Shea butter for my hair. I also have this styling stick from KeraCare products I used when I had straight hair. I bought it about two years ago and shortly after spending over twenty bucks on this damned thing, I cut off all my hair to about an inch of length and went natural. Smart. Anywho, looking at the ingredients on the back of the styling stick, I see that it’s made with mainly castor oil and beeswax. Beeswax is the main material in the project. Bonus!

I found an empty little jar from an old Burt’s Bees sampler. I cleaned it out and scraped off a bit of the styling wax into a ramekin and melted in the microwave. I poured the wax and about a billion little drops of the orange essential oil into the wee jar, (well, I put in enough drops until the orange scent was strong.) It smells divine. Seriously, isn’t the smell of oranges one of the best smells in life? I can’t say that the scent lingers. I used it like regular perfume and put it on the inside of my wrists. First time, I washed my hands? Goodbye scent! But overall, it was a minor success for my janky crafts. I really like janky crafts and boy do I have many more to share…

The Diabeetus

Is that a big box of The Diabeetus in your hand?

Hello gentle reader!  Sorry, it has been a hot minute since my last post. I had all these great resolutions that I planned on working on but I’ve been constantly sick for the last few weeks. Nothing serious, just a nagging cold that won’t go away and that prevents me from running.

Speaking of running, I have to tell you this crazy story about why I started to work out and my motivation. It all started because of a comment that a friend made. At my job, we have an annual event in connection with National Night Out. We get a lot of businesses in the community to donate resources and volunteers. It’s like a big ol’ cookout with all your neighbors and friends that you only talk to at events like this. Another coworker convinced a commercial bakery to sell a ton of Hostess snack cakes to my employer at a discounted price to hand out as treats. It was a massive amount of Twinkies, Snowballs and Cupcakes (Speaking of Twinkies, did you now that they make chocolate or strawberry-filled versions? Not good, folks. Yuck.). My friend at work takes one look at all the snack cakes and says very nonchalantly, “Well, that’s just a big box of diabetes.” I must have laughed for five minutes solid. It was all in the delivery.

Cut to a few weeks later, I’m looking at a can of cheap generic grocery store soda, and I hear her voice in my head saying, “Well, that’s just a big can of diabetes.” Suddenly, I can’t eat my favorite junky foods anymore! Bag of chips? Big bag of diabetes! Store-bought cake? Big store-bought cake of diabetes! Handmade milkshake? Big handmade glass of diabetes! Even worse, her voice had morphed into Wilford Brimley. Suddenly, he was telling me that it was a big something of THE DIABEETUS! Not one week later, I started the C25K program.

I’m down about 15 to 20 pounds and about two dress sizes. Any time I attempt to eat something that I shouldn’t, there’s Wilford in my head with, “Is that a big bowl of The Diabeetus?” Or, “Is that a big bag of The Diabeetus potato chips?”  I plan on making a little poster of The Diabeetus to place above my desk at work and the fridge at home. Great motivation, right?

(Please note: I am NOT making fun of diabetics, only Wilford Brimley, his mispronunciation of the word and the meme that sprung forth.)

Happy New Year’s!

Good morning, humble reader!

How was your New Year’s celebrations?  We didn’t do much, like we always do. Stayed in, watched television. Watched the first episode of the new season of Portlandia via Facebook. It was awesome. Also, we listened to our next door neighbor bang a gong (no seriously, they banged a real gong. I think they’re Buddhists).

One of the happiest things I did was to buy some E6000 glue. I love this glue so much! It glues everything! For some reason, I had a really hard time finding it in the stores closest to me but the little local hardware store in our old neighborhood had a supply. (psst–buy local!). I’ve been gluing my doll furniture back together, belts, shoes, kitchen utensils. Hot damn, I love this glue!

Another thing I’m doing is knitting up a scarf with a skein of Rowan Kidsilk. I have about a billion scarves but I have these odd little balls here and there that I can’t use for anything big. I saw this girl at the pizzeria with this amazingly beautiful scarf made of mohair that I simply have to have. Decided to make my version of it using this simple stitch. I’ve knit this scarf before as a gift and it looks so beautiful on a large needle. I’ll try to take photos.

See you back here tomorrow!